chicago: city of bikes, lights and music
I am behind in posting … and I have been reminded of this fact. Sorry. We just returned from a trip to Chicago – nine of us (including boys’ friends) headed up for Lollapalooza 2010. Just. Amazing.
The bicycle culture has always been vibrant in Chicago, even from back in the day when I was growing up there. And now, especially in summer, the city is saturated with cyclists of all kinds. Women in heels on beautiful Dutch bikes, messenger-types on fixies, all variety of commuters on all types of bikes. Fast bikes, fancy bikes, hip bikes, beater bikes. I think my favorite (and one I am tempted to duplicate in my own manner) was the fur-covered bike we spotted on Michigan Ave. Good grief, how I loved that one! 🙂
The truth is, we actually hauled two of our own bikes up there with us – but never ended up riding, I am very sad to say. Our group decided to just stay together, enjoying the music and each other’s company, walking everywhere. And I mean everywhere. At first I wasn’t sure I’d be willing to stick it out for 10-11 hours a day in the massive Lollacrowds (estimated at 68,000 each day, I believe), and thought some biking would be my alternate plan if I needed to escape. However, the whole festival scene, the truly amazing music, the energy of the experience kept me – kept all of us – in the park the entire time. It was wonderful and unforgettable.
Every night when the festival ended, the mass exodus of concert-goers would take over the surrounding streets of the city, all heading home. It may look chaotic or even scary – but it was exhilerating, happy, filled with energy and excitement. On the last night, the entire crowd – probably a few thousand people – broke out into spontaneous singing of the chorus to “Wake Up” by Arcade Fire (who were the last to play on Sunday); you’ve probably heard the song from the movie soundtrack “Where The Wild Things Are”. It was just …. spine tingling, and a moment I will never forget.
I think I almost managed to break my camera taking photos, but decided to leave the music and city shots (as I am slowly uploading them) for Flickr, and only put a few of the bike shots up here. I also may have put myself behind schedule on #330daysofbiking; but the truth is, as much as I would’ve liked to have ridden, I just don’t regret it.
Chicago – I miss you. It was a magical reunion – from bikes to music to your breathtaking skyline at night. The enchantment of Grant Park on a summer night, and Lake Michigan in the moonlight. Not to mention some of the best food in the world, which I have dearly, dearly craved. Thanks for welcoming me home. Rock on; bike on!
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you’re making me homesick! I lived in the Chicago vicinity for 6 years, it’s a great city. One of those years my only mode of transportation was a bike! The nice and flat thing works well for bicycles 🙂 So glad you had such a good trip, I can almost taste the Greek food!
Ha! Jenn … who knew?! No wonder we are such “kindred” spirits down here … 🙂 It was wonderful. And yeah – the food!
Fuzzy bikes and good bands. Not much can top that.
When I’m in a different city for work, with a co-worker that doesn’t understand the bikerly way, I can tell they always wonder why I look at every bike parked to a street sign.
Your pics reminded me of the strange looks I get from them. They’d be talking about the conference, work, etc. I’d be admiring a Surly fixie.
Oh, and I can’t wait to hear the pink caliente story!
I’ve been waiting for your post Chicago post…..Very Nice. Glad to hear you had a great time. Okay, the next city trip you plan should be to Austin…..what do you think? ACL has an incredible line up this year (but I do, however, think they are sold out already).
Didn’t know you were going to Chicago. It sounds like you used to live there, or spend a lot of time there, because you mentioned missing it.
Glad you had a great time!
Austin sounds like a great visit but if you decide to travel to Minnesota you get to see me AND @bikerly!
I really want to go back to Chicago – I’d love to see all the cyclists, especially along the lakefront trail. That fur-covered bike is great! Although it makes me hot looking at it right now with the heat wave we’ve been having – haha 🙂